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You wouldn’t expect a show about Lil Dicky to be one of the most introspective and delicately insightful shows on television. Yet ever since its premiere in 2020, Dave has pushed for the unexpected. What started as a comedy biopic of sorts about Lil Dicky’s career has morphed into one of the most interesting shows on television, a series led by a white man that questions and deconstructs race, masculinity, sexuality, and the trappings of fame at every turn. It’s also funny as hell with some of the catchiest songs on TV.
When Decider asked co-creator, executive producer, and star Dave Burd what fans could expect for Season 3, he promised the most. This season has the most music, the most comedy, the most emotions, and the most ambitions to date. Burd knows that a simple version of his show would still be a crowdpleaser; he has a strong enough fanbase, track record, and enough industry cred to back even a lackluster show. Yet even when it would be insanely easy to creatively phone it in, Burd strives for more. That’s what makes Dave remarkable.
Decider: Season 2 was so much about the ego death of Lil Dicky, the character. How would you describe Season 3?
Dave Burd: I would say that, while Season 2 is very psychological and there’s the whole trying to get an album out, writer’s block and all that, Season 3 is perhaps more observational. It really begins on tour, going all around America, which is so fun from a creative perspective… You’re in Texas one episode, you’re in Mississippi in another one, you’re in Philly. Everything has its own tone and vibe, and that’s super exciting.
I feel like there’s the observation of culture in society and our society’s obsession with fame and power and my character and GaTa and everyone’s who’s trying to make it — like their obsession with fame and what they can do to achieve greatness — all while [me] totally being a hopeless romantic looking for my wife. It’s definitely my character’s main priority. There’s, I guess, two main priorities. There’s success and achieving a certain level of success and just meeting the one.
What I really loved about Season 2 is that it explored what it means to try to become famous and embrace your art, but the season did that through different identities. You have GaTa, you have the Doja Cat episode. Is that what you’re going to do in Season 3 as well? Are you going to expand on these identities and what it means for them to be famous?
Yeah, to an extent. Just like the other season we kind of go off the other cast members. [They] have their own storylines, so everyone has their own journey that they’re on while collectively we’re really on one team. A lot of us are on the tour together, so it’s like we’re — I don’t want to say us against the world. But it’s our group, and we’re going into different places every episode, really only knowing each other. It’s more of a team spirit this season, whereas in Season 2 there was a lot of interpersonal turmoil between the characters and a lot of dramatic strife that I personally love as a consumer and audience member of my own show. But I think this season is like the band couldn’t be having more fun together because they’re trying to solve these problems together.
That’s nice. It sounds like it’s earned after Season 2.
Yeah, we went through the fire, and now we’re on the other side. It’s like let’s go explore America. Let’s see what’s going on in this country.
What I really really love about Dave is I see it as a kind of breakdown of toxic masculinity or almost like a satire of it. Can you talk about that a bit?
At its core the show is about a rapper, right? So like rap is a very hyper-masculine genre, and my rap name is literally pointing towards having a small penis. It’s so in the bones of me as a person, me as an artist, so obviously the show in general. The show leans heavily on my perspective; I’m obviously a man. And this season what’s interesting is we really dive into the dating norms, which I think are unfair. We live in a society where a woman has to just wait for a man to decide if they’re worthy enough — you know what I mean? We explore dating and romance and love and what expectations people have with status and power in a very interesting and unexpected way.
Can you expand on that a little bit more? What female characters are you focusing on to tell these stories?
Emma’s [Christine Ko] on the tour, and she’s our woman on the road documenting for the documentary… And then Ally [Taylor Misiak] is certainly very involved too. She’s got her own stories going on back in LA. She comes and visits the tour, comes on the tour for a little bit.
Then there’s also new characters, new female characters that have their own arcs. Even within the men you learn a lot about this whole thing, so I’m really excited. I feel like it’s uncharted territory for the show, like totally hyper-relevant for my generation as it pertains to dating.
What I’ve always liked and respected about Dave is the way that you talk about whiteness. The lens isn’t by default white. Can you talk about that a little bit?
I’m not naive enough to not know that I’ve had a very privileged life. As I became a rapper, I entered more and more diverse spaces, obviously, and just saw more about what was other people’s experiences. A guy like GaTa had a totally different upbringing and life challenges than I would ever have… I don’t want to make it like the crux of every single moment. But it’s something that should be talked about. It’s kind of a — I don’t want to say an ever-present thing, but it’s certainly something, especially for a white rapper. How that comes into play this season, I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s we’re going all over the country where different regions have different like default vibes, you know what I mean?We explore it in really fun unexpected ways.
You see it a little bit in Season 2 and a bit in Season 1 with Lil Dicky’s fans being these predominantly white dude-bros, for lack of a betterterm.
The thing about tour is you really have to face the music. I go out every night, and I’m performing for an audience, and like I’m seeing. There have been times where I’ve been on stage and I’ll be doing a joke part of a song, and maybe I feel like the joke is being laughed at in a way that, it’s not the way that I intended… So we explore that type of dynamic of fans not getting a specific joke and taking it the wrong way. There’s so much music this season. This season is definitely the most musical. Like every episode has some sort of performance or new song type of thing.
I was also gonna say that I think this is the funniest season. But that’s not really related to what we’re talking about, so I’ll let you steer the ship.
Oh, that’s exciting. Dave has been on the air for a while, and it seems to be a very big hit. Have you noticed your fans changing?
Well it’s weird because coinciding with the show coming out was the pandemic. So immediately for a year and a half I didn’t go anywhere. I didn’t really see what was what. I haven’t really been doing concerts since the show came out, so it’s hard for me to gauge my fanbase.
As far as my old music that I don’t even truly love anymore, I think my show has more in it for women than my old music did. So I’m hoping that women can latch on to the show. And this season is like a very romantic season, so I think this one is really a different type, it’s the most different season. There’s only two seasons, but it’s very different.
Well, you’ve also explored a lot of genres in those two seasons.
Yeah. Episode 9, Season 2, which where I go to Rick Rubin’s house, was such a different tone and genre. That honestly was possibly my favorite episode of the series so far. Seeing that success and feeling that amount of pride in that episode gave me a lot of confidence to step outside my lane more often this season. Whereas there’s a standard I could default to with this show that I know would be great and I know would be funny, every episode I took a different tone and explored it, which I think is exciting as opposed to being just a one-dimensional, same-show-every-week type of vibe.
Absolutely, that’s why I respect it. I’m gonna need to wrap up, but is there anything I haven’t asked you yet you’d like to add?
Season 1, I was figuring out what I was even doing, to be honest with you. I was very pleased, and I had a vision. But then Season 2, I was like, “What did I not do in Season 1 that I wish I did?” And then Season 3, I really feel like I didn’t have much to prove beyond wanting to be the greatest version of the show. So Season 3 is gonna end up being the most — the funniest, the most cinematic, the most emotional. It’s got the best of everything all in one, so I think it’s gonna be the most satisfying.
Dave Season 3 premieres on FXX Wednesday, April 5. New episodes will be available on Hulu Thursdays.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
- Dave Burd
- Queue And A